Our Autumn EfC members’ event, hosted by Credit Suisse in Canary Wharf, focused on the theme of employee networks, and how they can support carers in the workplace. In line with the theme “Network to network: Sharing the learning” a lively updates and discussion session was followed by informal networking and an opportunity for members to share stories with one another.
The event was opened by Laura-Jane Gosling, Compliance and Regulatory Change, and Carers Network lead, Credit Suisse, and chaired by Ian Peters, Chair of EfC who welcomed our newest members since the last EfC event in June: Merck, Miller, Nominet, Public Health England, Telford and Wrekin CVS, Wheatley Group and, our most recent member, DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). EfC now has over 100 member organisations covering around 1.25 million employees across the UK.
Laura-Jane from Credit Suisse opened the evening with a hugely powerful and moving personal story, of her own experience caring for her mother. The story set the tone for an event that was about trying to create workplaces which are human, supportive and compassionate. Thank you to Laura-Jane for sharing this with all of us.
Ian updated the group on our latest members, highlighting the diversity of sectors and developments at our new EfC Wales Hub. Launched in Carers Week in June, the Hub is going from strength to strength with South Wales Police and DVLA as its first members, and the Hywel Dd Health Board in South West Wales (covering three local councils) and Cardiff Council as its first umbrella members. EfC members can now get in touch with us if their Welsh offices could benefit from having local support from the Hub.
Hilary Krisman and Julie Hawthorn, Diversity and Inclusion Leaders at the Department for Work and Pensions then spoke about how their network started as a virtual, social intranet group in order to reach carers across the country, but how it has also evolved face to face ‘hubs’ in different locations as carers, including former carers, and line managers have got to know each other. They highlighted the importance of recognition and understanding from line managers, and of managers being part of this support system, as well as the importance of aftercare. Hilary also explained how at a senior policy level, DWP are trying to create an environment which is safe for people to share their stories, by having strong policy to back-up the work of the network.
Kathryn Emmett, Co-Chair, Shine Network, Norton Rose Fulbright then shared with participants how their employee-led network, which is relatively new to the caring agenda, uses peer-to-peer support across different strands to reach carers. The network uses events, blogs and joint events with other networks to encourage employees to support one another and promote understanding.
Laura-Jane Gosling then gave an overview of Credit Suisse’s Wellbeing and Care Network, which encompasses carers, mental health, and health and disability. Like Norton Rose Fulbright, this network highlights how these different areas overlap, and how connected they are to each other. Laura-Jane underlined the growing issue of mental health in the workplace, and how much mental health impacts carers especially. The network now has nearly 1,000 members, and is a great example of the power of employee support.
The Q&A sessions saw members sharing best practice; including the Financial Ombudsman Service sharing their paid carers leave policy, and emphasising the importance of trusting employees as well as educating and supporting managers on this. Credit Suisse and Ian Peters highlighted how getting senior level buy-in for networks is really powerful.
Professor Jason Heyes, Professor of Employment Relations, University of Sheffield, provided a brief update on the Sustainable Care research programme and the opportunity for EfC members to engage. This will be an excellent opportunity to evidence and add impact to the work that EfC members are doing. If you would like to be involved please contact email@example.com, cc firstname.lastname@example.org
Juliet Andrew-Orji, Client Services Manager at Carers UK, encouraged members to make use of the wealth of resources on EfC Digital, including our new toolkit ‘Starting the Conversation’.
Lizzie Blackburn, Senior Membership and Volunteering Officer at Carers UK, spoke about becoming a Carers UK Workplace Champion Volunteer. You can read more about this here.
Hannah Hockin, Corporate and Events Fundraising Executive at Carers UK, shared some exciting opportunities for members and their employees to get involved in raising awareness and further supporting Carers UK:
Care for a Laugh - 12th November, the Comedy Store, London.
Festive Collections - 15th December, Royal Albert Hall, London. Volunteer to help us with bucket collections during three performances.
London Landmarks Half Marathon - 24th March 2019, London
Get in touch with Hannah for more information or further ideas at email@example.com
Our next Members Networking Event will be to mark 10 years since EfC began! It will take place at the end of January 2019, further details to follow soon.
If you would like to present at a future event or feature in our e-bulletin to share your organisation’s progress, experiences or policies, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org